Monday, September 19, 2016

Musical Muses: Every Writer Needs One

Are you plagued with writers block? Or do you just need a gentle nudge to get in the writing mood? Find a musical muse and let the power of music unleash your creativity. 

I normally don’t listen to music while I’m writing. When I do I choose classical, jazz, or easy listening. In “Music to Write By,” author Indra Sena suggests that non-listeners try “anchoring” themselves to a starting song (her term for a musical muse) to get in the writing mood:

You can choose any song that makes you feel energized, inspired or excited. Every time you sit down to write, play the starting song with the plan that you will write for the duration of the entire song. Even if you decide you will only write for those few minutes, the old science law holds true: A body in motion tends to remain in motion.

If you play your Starting Song every time you sit down to write, your writing practice will become anchored to the song. Just hearing the song will make you feel the urge to grab your keyboard and start typing.

See Ms. Sena’s complete article, “Music to Write By,” here. She suggests playing songs that reflect the period you are writing about; playing music that puts you in the writing mood; and using music that increases brain functioning (Remember the MozartEffect).

My personal “Musical Muses”:

Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, Andante (“Elvira Madigan”). Listen here.

Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor Op. 16. Listen here

Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto 1 - B Flat Minor. Listen here

Nadia’s Theme from The Young and the Restless. Listen here

Debussy’s "Clair de Lune." Listen here

My #1 inspirational vocal: "I Hope You Dance," by Lee Ann Womack. Listen here.

Do you listen to music while you write? Why or why not?

Do you have a favorite song that helps you with your writing process?


jrlindermuth said...

My musical tastes are quite catholic. Though, when I'm writing there's generally classical music playing in the background. That, especially Bach, seems to energize me.
As to the idea of anchoring yourself to one song as a key to starting, I'd have reservations about that.

Maggie King said...

Yes, I like Bach as well. The anchoring technique falls into the "whatever works" category. Personally, I don't have much of a problem with writer's block, but I do with distractions.

Amy Reade said...

I normally don't listen to music when I write, but this article is enough to get me to try a Starting Song. But on those occasions when I do listen to music, I try to find instrumental music that is from the place where my book is set. For example, writing my current novel, I listen to music from Scotland. When I wrote my book set in Hawaii, I listened to Hawaiian music. I find that listening to music of the same culture where the story is set helps immerse me in the story. Great post!

Linda Thorne said...

Reading this post was the first time I even thought about the fact that I've never done any writing with music going and I have no idea why. I can't remember thinking of turning on the radio or the online music site my husband put on my computer's desktop. Now this seems strange and I'm wondering all kinds of things like: Do I have a deep-seeded reason to avoid it, bad experiences with music in the background in the past? Nothing comes to mind. When I write, it is silent, always, but is that necessary? I may have to try it to find out why I've never thought to have it on.

Maggie King said...

Thanks for commenting, Linda and Amy.

Linda, if you find out you may have a great story idea!

G. B. Miller said...

There are a couple of songs that spring to mind that helped me with my writing: Drops of Jupiter by Train and Boys of Summer by The Hooters. These basically helped me shape the type of characters I would use in my stories. Beyond that, I write sans music.

Father Nature's Corner

Maggie King said...

G.B.: Intriguing that those two songs helped to develop your characters. I must read your books---will I see the influence?

Liane Spicer said...

I don't listen to music while I write but this is a fascinating idea.